AUG. 1861 UNION SOLDIER LETTER—PRIVATE HENRY L. COOLEY, CO. “C”, 2ND VERMONT INFANTRY [GETTYSBURG REGIMENT]

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Item Code: 2021-90

Dated “Bush Hill. Alexandria Aug. 12th 6110 Addressed to “Dear Parents.” 3 pp. in ink & pencil on unlined paper w/ patriotic vignette in upper left corner. Exhibits fold-marks else VG.

Henry Cooley was a resident of Brattleboro, Vermont, mustered as a private into Co. “C”,  2nd Vermont Infantry, 6/21/1861, who  died of disease, 1/11/ 1863. His 2nd Vermont was mustered in Burlington in June 1861, and, following  the first Battle of Bull Run fought in nearly all  major battles of the Army of the Potomac  [including Gettysburg, where it was engaged in repelling Picket’s Charge]. Mustered out July 15, 1865, the 2nd VT lost during service 224 men killed or mortally wounded and 175 by disease for a total of 399.

Pvt. Cooley opens this letter in ink in one location ( Alexandria) and ends it in pencil in another (Georgetown chain-Bridge). He writes of his brigade while describing the famous Chain-Bridge across the Potomac at Georgetown Heights. . Text:

“…We are with the Vt. 3rd now. We are going to be  in the same Brigade with them. There is going to be a Calafornia and a marine Regt. with us. We are on Georgetown Heights  but the bridge is here and they call it chain bridge. We are on the bank of the river but it is up very high…on this this end of the bridge there is 2 large guns that will rake it the whole length…

We do not look quite so well as we did when we came here, We have no clothes but what are on our backs. We have not but one shirt a piece and have not had since the fight  [ Battle of First  Bull run]. When we wash our clothes we have to without any on. We are going to have Enfield rifles in a day or two…Please write oftener.”

Good early-war camp letter from a valiant private of the 2nd Vermont later to die of disease. In protective sleeve.  [JP] [ph:L]

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